John McCaslin

Imagine being a Christian chaplain in the U.S. military and not being allowed to recite the name of Jesus when praying.

"As you may know, the Air Force leadership recently released proposed guidelines that will restrict how Air Force chaplains can pray, and if approved those guidelines may well be implemented throughout the entire Department of Defense," 70 congressmen warn President Bush, referring to guidelines now under consideration for so-called "nonsectarian" prayers.

The lawmakers contend the Air Force's suppression of religious freedom "is a pervasive problem" throughout the armed forces, given how difficult its become for Christian chaplains to refer to Jesus by name.

They want Mr. Bush to issue an Executive Order protecting the chaplain's constitutional rights.


Rebuilding Aunt Suzie's Yarn Shop is one thing. But Rep. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia is drawing the line when it comes to Congress providing special tax breaks to massage parlors, casinos, liquor stores and country clubs damaged by the recent hurricanes.

The Republican chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee for commerce says federal tax breaks should go instead to "more deserving businesses," and he wants Congress to say so in writing new regulations.


Former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has taken his top aides and formed the Abraham Group, an international strategic consulting firm.

The Washington-based firm tells us it is seeking U.S. and foreign clients who require counsel in domestic and foreign markets, from Europe and Russia to the Middle East, China and Latin America.


Leave it to Maria O'Leary to have invited guests this year to bring their "own three-paragraph obituary (then begin living your life as you would like to be remembered)" to her popular pair of Day of the Dead celebrations at her Old Town Alexandria home.

Each year on Nov. 1 and 2 (All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day), the Mexican-American mother of five and owner of Nuevo Mundo, Old Town's original fashion and jewelry boutique, invites friends and family to a viewing of her colorful "Altar to the Dead." The main icon of the traditional several-tiered altar is Mrs. O'Leary's late husband, well-known Washington newspaperman and White House correspondent Jeremiah A. "Jerry" O'Leary Jr.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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